Skip to main content

Full text of "The Fate Of Man In The Modern World"

See other formats


desires. A national culture has never meant
that it existed at the level, and carried out the
orders, of the popular mass; rather, it meant
that a given culture was the expression of the
spirit of the nation. Hence genius could express
true national culture better than the mass. But
at the present time it is increasingly demanded of
culture that it be national in the sense of corres-
ponding to the needs and desires of the masses.
This changes culture into something so different
as to need a new name. Sometimes this new
phenomenon is called civilization, but this is a
purely conditional terminology.

The domination of the mass and the impersonal
collective, which at one place takes the form of
a bourgeois democracy with the dictatorship of
money although always disguised and secret, and
at another the form of the authoritarian state with
the openly avowed dictatorship of leaders—this
creates a most difficult situation for creative
cultural forces, for a cultural elite. This cultural
elite seems to be in its death agony : its situation
both moral and material is becoming ever more
unbearable. In a liberal democracy the cultural
elite depends on capital and the vulgar tastes of
the crowd; in an authoritarian or a communist
democracy it depends upon the dictated world-
view, an authority which pretends to organize
the spirit. We live in an epoch of " dictated